NewLeaf Symbiotics virtual field day highlights corn rootworm biological mitigant

An ag tech company is moving closer to commercializing what it calls a new class of biological products to benefit both growers and the environment. 

NewLeaf Symbiotics chief commercial officer Matt Helms says the company was founded seven years ago.

“And we focus on one unique class of microbe. We call them M-trophs, (which) is short for pink pigmented facultative methylotrophs.”

He tells Brownfield NewLeaf has the biggest library of M-trophs in the world.

“What we’ve seen them do is really enhance (plant health). We’ll find the right M-troph for a specific crop, take corn (for example). There are certain strains or isolates that will work better on a certain type of crop. And what we’ve seen is enhanced root development, enhanced nutrient uptake, and that results in a better yield.”

Helms says NewLeaf has also been able to screen certain microbes that have pesticidal properties. That includes corn rootworm, the focus of a virtual field day held Thursday in northeast Iowa.

NewLeaf plans on expanding farmer trials with hopes of commercial release of its corn rootworm product as soon as 2023.

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